The month of May seems like so long ago for the Blue Jays. Since building a healthy lead in the East with an incredible 21-9 record in the second month of the season, the Jays have fallen off dramatically. Since June 1, they are only 14-19 and have actually only won eight of their last 27 games. They are still only two games back of first place Baltimore in the East but if the slide doesn't stop now, it's going to be all over by the end of this month.
A boost to the starting rotation would have been a good thing when the Jays were in first place and tearing up the league at the plate. But with Brett Lawrie gone for the rest of July with his broken finger, and now Edwin Encarnacion on the 15-day DL with a Grade 2 quad muscle strain, the Jays need to add a bat - preferably someone who can play second base or third or both. It almost has to be a right-hand bat considering the Jays are the worst hitting team in the American League against lefties.
Since the Jays are in buying mode they'll probably have to target the teams that have no reasonable hope of getting even a Wild Card berth. In the American League, I count six teams that are realistically out of it, although I'm still hesitant to count out Tampa Bay because the East is so weak. So for argument's sake, the six are Tampa Bay in the East, the White Sox and Minnesota in the Central and Texas and Houston in the West.
Since Boston and Tampa Bay likely won't trade within their own division, that leaves four teams the Jays can talk with. Since Houston won't give up Jose Altuve and the Twins likely won't surrender Brian Dozier who fit the bill as right-handed hitters and solid second baseman, you're down to Texas and the White Sox.
Since the Rangers are so injury ravaged, I can't see them making any significant deals until the off-season. That leaves Chicago. The White Sox have a right-hand hitting second baseman in Gordon Beckham, whom the Blue Jays were rumoured to be interested in in the off-season. Beckham is hitting .248 this season with seven homers and 24 runs batted in. He's 24 years old.
Cleveland is hanging around the .500 mark and isn't technically out, but in a week or two could decide to move some people. They've got 33-year-old utilityman Mike Aviles - yes, the same guy the Blue Jays got as compensation from Boston for manager John Farrell. He's a .272 career hitter who can play second or third and maybe even shortstop in an emergency.
In the National League, the six teams on the outside looking in include the Mets and the Phillies in the East, the Cubs in the Central and San Diego, Colorado and Arizona in the West. The Phils have a good one in Chase Utley, but he reportedly won't waive his no-trade clause to go to a team with artificial turf such as the Blue Jays. The Mets' Daniel Murphy is rumoured to be available, but he is New York's only All-Star rep and hits left handed. Still, he's hitting .294 with seven homers and 35 runs batted in go with 11 stolen bases.
The Cubs Darwin Barney at 28 is having his second straight down year at the plate, hitting .219 though he does hit right. The Jays may have an interest in a man they originally drafted in second baseman Aaron Hill. Aaron is two years removed from his last great season with the D-Backs and is hitting only .241 this season with six homers and 42 runs batted in. The right-handed hitter is also 32 years old and is owed just shy of $30 million through 2016.
J.P Morosi of Fox Sports has heard that the Jays are talking with San Diego about third baseman Chase Headley. The 30-year-old switch hitter, who has had back trouble on and off over the past couple of years, is only hitting .217 with six homers and 25 runs batted in. On top of that, any team acquiring him would have to make a qualifying offer of about $15 million to retain a draft pick at the end of the first round should Headley decide to walk. Then again if he decides to stay, a team is on the hook for $15 million for a player who may or may not be worth anything close to that.
The Padres also have a 25-year-old right hand hitting second baseman in Jedd Gyorko, who cracked 23 homers last year in his first season. But this time around he's only batting .162 with five homers and 24 runs batted in.
Of that entire bunch, I would probably opt for the Mets' Murphy with Aaron Hill a close second.
Talk about the miracles of modern surgery. On Monday Arizona GM Kevin Towers is having surgery to repair a damaged vocal cord. He's having it replaced with the vocal cord from a cadaver. Towers figures he will be able to talk again in three or four days and should be back at work in a week.
They still have over 70 games to go, but the Boston Red Sox are close to doing something very unusual: going from last place, to first and a World Series victory, and back to last place. The Bosox dropped back into the basement behind Tampa Bay at 39-49. In 2012 under Bobby Valentine, they finished 69-93. Then a year ago John Farrell led them to a 97-65 mark and a World Series victory over St. Louis and now they are cellar dwellers again.